How to get the best speed test results
Connect your device directly to your modem with an Ethernet cable and shut down all other programs on your device aside from the test. Turn off your Wi-Fi router. Run the speed test three or four times to get an accurate average.
How does this internet speed test work?
When you start the speed test, it automatically selects the best server to execute the test based on your location. Your test will use a server close to you to keep the results as accurate as possible.
To test download speed, our testing tool downloads a file using your internet connection, and then measures how long the download takes to complete. It measures upload speed the same way, except in reverse. It also tests ping rate because it’s contacting the server anyway.
If your speed is slower than expected
There are several reasons why your speed test results might not be as fast as you expected. Try these tips to see if you can get a more accurate reading:
- Temporarily disable your firewall (but don’t forget to turn it back on afterward).
- Make sure the device you’re using to test is the only device connected to the internet.
- Reset your modem and router, and try again.
- Plug your testing device directly into your modem with an Ethernet cable.
If you’re seeing inconsistent results, there might be a bottleneck in your network. You can troubleshoot poor internet speeds with our guide on how to fix slow internet. But your internet connection may just be slow. If nothing helps, it’s time to call your ISP.
What to look for in your speed test results
Our internet speed test results tell you a few different things about your internet connection. They cover aspects of your internet speed, of course, but also your internet provider, IP address, and the location of the server used to run your test.
Here’s a brief overview into what each part of your results means and how it affects your internet’s performance. For more in-depth information, check out our consumer’s guide to internet speed.
Your download speed is what you usually think of as your internet speed. This is how fast info gets from the internet to your device. It’s measured by how many bits of information can be delivered per second—usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or millions of bits per second.
Fast download speeds support better streaming, especially at higher resolutions.
Upload speed measures how fast data can get from your device to the internet. Like upload speed, it’s also measured in Mbps.
Upload speed is usually slower than download speed because you usually get more info from the internet than you send to it. For example, you may post to Instagram once a day (uploading), but you probably look at way more posts than that (downloading).
Latency measures how long it takes for a signal (called a ping) to travel to an internet server and back.
This is your internet provider. If you don’t recognize the name, it could be because your internet company exists as a subsidiary underneath another company. For example, Xfinity users will often see Comcast Cable instead of Xfinity because Comcast owns Xfinity.
An IP address is your computer’s network address. Like your home address, your IP address tells the internet where to send your stuff. It makes it so that the information you request from the internet can find its way back to you specifically, rather than the billions of other devices connected to the web.
You don’t necessarily need to know your IP address, but it’s there if you do.
Your server location doesn’t necessarily reflect where you are—it’s just the server used to perform your speed test. The server used for your test may be next door or a state or two away—our test utilizes servers relatively close to your location for the most accurate results.
Server location matters relative to your latency and ping rates. So if you live in Salt Lake City and your server location is in Colorado, your ping rate is the time it takes a ping to get from your location to the server location (Colorado) and back.
What is a good internet speed?
A good internet speed for you depends on a lot of things, including your internet plan, how many people use your connection, and what type of internet you have. Our very general recommendation is 10 Mbps of download speed for every person who uses your internet connection. Some people need less and others want more, but that’s our basic guideline.
For more specifics on good internet speeds and a personalized speed recommendation, check out our How Much Speed Do You Need? tool.
Speeds to expect from different types of internet
|Typical speed range||Max speeds up to||More information|
|DSL||10–25 Mbps||100 Mbps||Learn more about DSL|
|Cable||50–100 Mbps||1,000 Mbps||Learn more about cable internet|
|Fiber||100+ Mbps||1,000+ Mbps||Learn more about fiber internet|
(3–5 Mbps after data cap)
|100 Mbps||Learn more about satellite internet|
|Fixed-wireless||20–30 Mbps||1,000 Mbps||Learn more about fixed-wireless|
With any type of internet connection, the thing that should affect your speeds the most is the plan you’re signed up for. But different types of internet each have their own speed capabilities.
Currently, fiber is the fastest and most reliable connection type, but cable internet can also provide fast internet speeds. Both are better than DSL and satellite internet at consistently delivering promised speeds, according to the Federal Communications Commission’s Eighth Measuring Broadband America Report.
While satellite internet, DSL, and fixed-wireless internet can reach speeds up to 100 Mbps or more, speeds that fast are more of an exception than the typical experience with these connection types.
How do I test my Wi-Fi speed?
To test your Wi-Fi speed, simply take a speed test with a device that is connected to your Wi-Fi network (like a smartphone). You can do this in different areas of your home to see how well your network performs closer to your router or farther away.
Checking how your speeds compare on different devices connected via Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi is a great way to troubleshoot slowdowns in your network. For example, if your speeds are much slower on Wi-Fi than when tested with a wired connection to your modem, your router might be a bottleneck for your connection. But if your speeds are comparable on both, it probably isn’t an equipment problem.
What internet service providers have the fastest internet speeds?
Google Fiber, RCN, and Verizon have the fastest tested internet speeds in the US, according to our fastest internet providers 2020 report, which is based on more than 2.4 million results from our internet speed test. Xfinity also offers fast internet speeds, and it performs well in every tested region in the country.
Of course, your internet speeds and performance can vary depending on a few different factors, many of which are out of your control. For example, providers’ infrastructure in your area and the speed packages they offer may limit your options.
Looking for where the fastest and slowest internet speeds are in the US?
Check out our reports that break down the states and cities with the best and worst internet speeds nationwide.
Looking for provider speed test results?
*Average of HighSpeedInternet.com speed test results for all provider’s users.